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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 17:14 GMT 18:14 UK
The Magazine Monitor


Welcome to the Magazine Monitor, the home for:

  • Daily Mini-Quiz results
  • Paper Monitor
  • Your letters
  • Punorama (Weds)
  • Caption Comp (Thurs)
  • 10 things we didn't know (Sat)


10 pigs by Candace Kendall

Snippets harvested from the week's news, chopped, sliced and diced for your weekend convenience.

1. Thirty-four percent of the UK have a surname that is ranked as "posher" than the Royal Family's given name, Windsor.

2. Until a few years ago religious and gospel music had largely been untapped. Now it makes up 7% of all CD sales in the US.

3. About 95% of the annual British crop of blackcurrants is bought by GlaxoSmithKline for Ribena.

4. The Downing St garden is actually a Royal Park.

5. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobiacs is the term for people who fear the number 666.

6. Thanatology is the study of death - a fact highlighted by last weekend's International Federation of Thanatologists Associations.

7. A nut can sit in the lung for 18 months without doing any harm - although it might get mistaken for cancer. The fate befell two men this week - Derek Kirchen (cashew nut) and Louis McDonald (peanut).

8. The more panels a football has - and therefore the more seams - the easier it is to control in the air.

9. The leggiest millipede ever is thought to have just 750 legs - somewhat less than the 1,000 than its name would suggest.

10. More than 17 billion plastic bags are handed out at supermarkets and shops every year.

(Sources, where no links are included: 3 - Daily Telegraph 6 June; 6 - the Guardian, 3 June; 10 - Metro, 5 June)

If you spot anything that should be included next week, use the form below to tell us about it.

Your e-mail address
Your thing and where you saw it

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.


Letters logo
Robert Johnson did not promote violence. Anyone familiar with early blues music knows that any mention of a gun - especially one capable of "splitting my woman in two" - is actually a euphemistic refernce to .. well, you know.
MJ Simpson, Leicester, UK

My suggestion for the over annoying use of percentages would be "Misrepercent". I suggest that these people are the same ones that say "almost unique" - in fact I'm 106.7% sure.
English Pete, Dorset

I'm 350% positive the word should be percentimental
Gareth Jones, Anglesey

Muhammad Isa, Watford, UK

You expect me to download my World Cup sticker snack at 7 am Eastern Daylight Time?? Will there be breakfast and dinner sticker books for those of us World Cup teams who don't live by GMT?
Yvonne, Yardley, PA, USA

"While Edmonds refuses to say what the rain cloud, star et al symbolise..." Sorry to be pedantic, but et al refers to people, and etc refers to things.
Esh, Ballygowan, NI

So, Paper Monitor, ballacks to you, then!
charlesfrean@mac.com, USA

Whatever happened to imperceptible witticisms? Are they now so sophisticatedly imperceptible that they are, well, imperceptible? Can you have a watch for something which cannot be watched?
Charlotte, Earth


How long before we see Crostini stickers on Ebay?
Olly, Biggleswade

I can't get my first sticker to stick. Licking the back hasn't helped. Any suggestions?
Ed, Clacton, UK

Re the 'Crostini' sticker album, can we please clear up once and for all whether 'panini' is a singular or not? Wikipedia thinks not (it has 'panino'), but what do other MM readers think? Am I the only person sad enough to be bothered by this? At least I'm sure that 'paninis' (as seen at sandwich shops all over the English-speaking world) is excruciating nonsense.
Ian Rutt, Bristol, UK

My secretary caught me cutting out a crostini. I don't know who was more embarrassed. I'll have to be more discreet
basil Long, Newark Notts


It's time for the caption competition.

This week, England footballers Ashley Cole and David Beckham relax during training in Germany ahead of the World Cup. But what's being said?

Here are the six top entries - now it's down to you to vote for the cream of the crop, using the box below.

1. Andy Fisher, Coventry
Becks: "Sprachen sie Deutsch?"
Cole: "No, I'm just resting my hand."

1. Andy Fisher
2. Gareth Jones
3. Nick Leach
4. Grahame Blanchard
5. Catherine O
6. P Anghelides
3560 votes cast
2. Gareth Jones, Anglesey
"That's the last time we play cards with Michael Owen."

3. Nick Leach, Watford, UK
"Wait a sec... who on earth put those towels on our sun loungers?"

4. Grahame Blanchard, Towcester, UK
"If Maradonna can use the hand of God, why can't I?"

5. Catherine O, Maidenhead
Women the world over get the chance to improve their dribbling skills.

6. P Anghelides, Southampton, UK
Away strip.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

What are the taste and decency rules on showing graphic close-ups of dead people on a newspaper front page?

None whatsoever if said corpse is the mastermind behind Iraq's murderous insurgency and said newspaper is the Guardian. Its picture of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shows the dead leader's face in graphic close-up, bruises, blood stains and all.

Others, meanwhile, exhibit degrees of caution in relating this undoubtedly important story on their front pages.

The Mail, Telegraph and Financial Times put the reader one removed from the image itself - as did the BBC News website, yesterday - showing it as part of US army's de-brief presentation. The Times shows the image in grainy black-and-white and the Independent and Sun present al-Zarqawi as he once was - alive.

The Mirror, meanwhile, is otherwise occupied with the latest twist in the Macca separation/divorce trauma. And the Express? Why carry a picture of homicidal insurgent when you can just as easily conjure one of the late Princess Diana.

Elsewhere, lots of free World Cup goodies. The Guardian gives us four postcards, the Mail a free DVD of England's 1966 victory (although it's one of those fill out the form, send it off with a padded stamped-addressed padded envelope-type "giveaways"), the Mirror and Sun have special pull-outs and the Times has a glossy World Cup poster - Paper Monitor's edition contained not one, not two, not three, but four posters of German star Michael Ballack.

No sign, though, of any direct competitors to the Magazine's World Cup 2006 Crostini "sticker" album.


Yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked about the drunken wisdom of Charlotte Church - what did she NOT say in her speech at the Glamour awards. It was "I love you, you're my best mates", which 39% of you correctedly identified. She did say "I'm going to cry. No I'm not" (25%) and "They love me, I love them" (36%). Today's DMQ is on the Magazine index


Monitor regulars will perhaps be surprised to hear that the glut of World Cup merchandise on sale in supermarkets, petrol stations and just about every other retail outlet, has largely passed unremarked upon.

But this isn't a story of sheer inertia. Quite the opposite. The Monitor, which has a long history of seeking to divert honest, hardworking folk during their lunch hours, is launching its own World Cup 2006 Crostini* sticker album.

To get those lunchtime tastebuds salivating, starting on Monday, 12 June, at around midday every week day for three weeks, a picture of a snack from one of the countries represented in the World Cup will be published in the Monitor.

That's 15 pictures in all to collect - plus there's a starter picture to get help you on your way. Download them all by clicking here.

When you've completed the album, send us a picture of you and your sticker album smorgusborad, and we'll publish them all.

* Why Crostini? Think Panini.


Letters logo

Re the World cup sticker album. To carry on a tradition, I will be out the office on 20 June, however I have printed out two copies of today's starter sticker. Anybody want to swap my crostini for 20 June's international snack?

Re the caption competition instruction to "keep it clean" - well, you started it...
London, UK

I nominate "posecentage" for the flexicon, to describe the silly, exaggerated use of percentages greater than 100% (Wednesday's letters).
Helene Parry,
South Wales expat to Brentford Lock

Matt Lewis,
Chester, UK

Percentile dysfunction.
Ralph Monkey,

I'm 110% a centimentalist.
Kieran Boyle,
Oxford, En-ger-land

Percentimates. This doesn't describe the use of percentages, rather the idiots that use them. And this is 200% correct.

Clive Shergold,
Middlesbrough, UK

We've had 101% from Tony, and 300% from the big man, but Steven Gerrard's prediction is nonsense. If a good chance is something more likely to happen than not, then a 50-50 for him to play on Saturday merely states that it's equally a bad chance... Maybe we should create a course on mathematical metaphors for politicians and footballers. 50% guaranteed to make some money on it.
Lester Mak,

I propose another splinter group from Cabbaging. The winner is the one who ends up with the fact least related to the story they originally clicked on. I started with (Water pump plan to cool the Tube, clicked through to Tube slowdown as heat continues, and ended up discovering (see the very end of the article) that when it gets too hot, the tigers at London Zoo are fed lollies made of frozen blood. Any takers?
London, UK


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Ah, the Daily Telegraph, how we love you. In a world of change, it remains steadfast and constant in its interests. Wealth. Tradition. Privilege. Well-bred gels.

For if ever there was a story that ticks the DT's boxes, it is that St Hilda's, the last remaining women-only college at Oxford University, is to open its doors to men. An announcement its students, known as "Hildabeasts", have greeted with tears and cheers in equal measure.

And the significance for the Telegraph? Why, the perfect excuse for a front-page photo of two blonde lovelies hugging each other in delight. Just like when the A-level results come out, but with the added frisson of knowing that they're already Oxbridge fillies.

The Sun has an extra-special photo too - the "EXCLUSIVE FIRST PICTURE" of Brad 'n' Angelina's baby. What do you mean, you've already seen it?

Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror reports that Noel "Deal or No Deal" Edmonds has landed a 500,000 book deal to write about his cosmic ordering beliefs.

Regular readers may remember that in April, PM - along with the Sun and the Daily Express (how spooky is that?) - noticed the weird symbols drawn on the TV host's hands to remind the cosmos of the six things he most wants.

While Edmonds refuses to say what the rain cloud, star et al symbolise, it's only fair to assume that one represents a hit TV show, and another a lucrative book deal. That leaves four further steps along his path to world domination - whatever could these be? Time will tell...


One-time moustachioed runner David Bedford, who has taken exception to lookalikes in the 118 118 adverts, was up in arms again about seeing a French version of the ad based on what, asked yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz? Just 22% of you got the right answer - 80s aerobics instructors. Today's DMQ is on the Magazine index


Letters logo

On the day that the Tory leader accuses Radio 1 of encouraging knife and gun crime, let's take a look at the lyrics of his favourite bands:
The Smiths - I know it's over
"The knife wants to slit me/Do you think you can help me?"
Radiohead - Knives Out
"Look into my eyes/I'm not coming back/So knives out"
Radiohead - Phillipa Chicken
"I got bombs, I got guns, I got brains"
Come on David, let's keep it real!
Nick Rikker,
Barcelona, Spain

I don't know why directory enquiries companies want to use people who look like David Bedford in their advertising. I mean, when it mattered, in the 1972 Olympics, his performance was way below what everyone expected. Oh I see...
John Whapshott,
Newbury, Berkshire

Re what your bikini says about you in Paper Monitor - how do I get a job as a body analyst?
Andrew, London

So, Tony Blair supports the actions of the security services 101%, and Wayne Rooney is 300% certain that he will be fit for the World Cup. Whatever happened good old-fashioned "110% sure" to describe a mathematical impossibility?

Flexicon suggestions please for the idiot use of percentages greater than 100%.
Giles Murchiston,

NHS staff take twice as many days off sick and NHS deficit doubles. Think I might be on to something here - is there a Doctor of Mathematics in the house?
Tom Gondis,
London, UK

I've just read the BBC homepage vertically down the centre column and it said "Rooney has metatarsal scan" "Holby City 8pm" - can't wait to see those results.
Lancashire, UK

The headline on the BBC News front page at 1030 BST said: "Wayne Roooney's plane has taken off en route to Manchester for his crucial scan". Under what definition of news does this information qualify?
Reading, UK

To Edinburgh's NJM complaint that English journos all keep mentioning 1966 (Tuesday letters) - I'm sure this will happen the very moment that Scotland take to a football or rugby field without first singing about Bannockburn. Give it a go.
Surrey, UK

Porridge Watch - the Glasgow Herald reveals that Annie Knight achieved her 111th birthday yesterday because she ate a bowl of porridge every morning... nothing to do with having her birthday on 6/6/6.

Re: Teenage speak (daily mini-quiz results). I remember a few years ago, Neil Fox on the radio trying to get hip with the teenage lingo by calling something "pants" thinking it meant it was good. Only for his phone lines to be blitzed by teenagers correcting him. Oh dear.
Lester Mak,

In our house, anything that teenagers do not understand is "random". I have tried to explain the true nature of random events, but without much success.
Reading, UK

To carry on the theme in Monday letters, I'm reminded of Mahatma Gandhi who suffered from terrible calluses on his feet caused by walking for miles barefooted. And because of his diet, he was a very small man and suffered terrible bad breath. He was a Super Callused Fragile Mystic Hexed By Halitosis.
I'll get my coat.


German and English police officer
It's Punorama time.

The rules are straightforward - we choose a story which has been in the news, and invite you to create an original punning headline for it.

This week it's the British police joining their German counterparts to aid in the policing of World Cup 2006. The bobbies met their German colleagues for the first time on Tuesday.

World Cop came from Catriona Smith, Birmingham; Brian Ritchie, Oxford and Tom, Nottingham, who added the postscript "very original, I know" - ah, sometimes it's the simple ones that get 'em.

Another popular theme came from the German word for no and its similarity to a certain important phone number. Hooligans? Just call nein, nein nein came from Brian Gunn, Muscat, Oman, with variations from Lulu, London; Smitty, Toronto; Bill, Halifax; Tim McMahon, Pennar/Wales; Robb Winchester, Wrexham and Stig, London.

For great minds think alike. German police are fine but I like a Bobby Moore came from Stephen Derry, Newcastle upon Tyne, with From Bobby Moore to Bobby More from Gearoid O'Muimeachain, London; Mark Wrighton, London and Stuart, West Midlands.

Basil Fawlty would surely tie himself in knots over Brits krieg and They think it's uber alles, it is now! from Simon Rooke, Nottingham, and Don't mention the law (Helene Parry, South Wales expat to Brentford Lock, who also sent in You're nicht!).

And we liked Bitte support (Gareth Jones, Frome) and Auf Wiedersehen, Met from James, Lancaster and Stella Alvarez, Teesside, UK.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

A few warm days and the papers are in full summer mode. Yesterday it was all sweetness and light, with good news all around.

Today, with the sun out, much of the populace will duly strip off and stretch out. So the papers will come in handy as cover to snooze under during an extended lunch break. But until then, they provide holiday fluff of the highest order.

The Daily Express leads the field with a double-page spread on what your bikini says about you. This is no prurient excuse for pics of near-naked ladies, it's written by Dr Pam Spurr, body analyst and psychologist.

She says that a strappy black barely-there-despite-being-a-one-piece number that Nancy Dell'Olio might reject as a bit showy is an indicator of a sensual person - "it's classy and the curves of the cutaways suggest a passionate personality".

A 16 Debenhams diamante bikini is for glamour girls: "a man might suspect the wearer likes the finer things in life so make sure your personality is as sparkling as the bikini."

The Daily Telegraph too features scantily-dressed lovelies, although in their case the topless beauties are David Beckham and Ashley Cole. In further World Cup news, the paper reveals that while Tessa Jowell has added two England flag to her ministerial car, Tony Blair won't be following her lead. And David Cameron has a "discreet" flag on his bike, but not the car which ferries his shoes, papers and freshly-ironed shirt to work.

It's back to bikinis in the Sun as a former Big Brother contestant sneaks a peek at her own bum. Don't they all? And the paper plays spot-the-difference with one of the new super speed cameras and a Cyberman. One a ruthless hunk of metal bent on world domination, the other a... er... ruthless hunk... stop! Time for that snooze in the sun.


Yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked what else does "gay" mean now, according to a BBC governors' ruling on a Chris Moyles complaint. Almost two-thirds of you correctly surmised that the governors are down with the kids in knowing that it means lame/rubbish; 30% reckoned naff/tasteless and 8% dull/boring. Today's Daily Mini-Quiz is on the Magazine index.


Letters logo
Have the BBC Online writers of any article with even the most tenuous connection to football been forced to mention 1966 or at least insert a picture of the '66 team. It was a great feat and one that England should be proud of but is it not a bit embarrassing that you seem to be clinging on to the glories of 40 years ago so fervently. You seem to manage writing articles about ships without mentioning the battle of Trafalgar so give it a go with football, see if you can do it.

Regarding Martin's query about the relative eco merits of ironing versus tumble drying, try drying your things on the line, then popping them in the dryer for just a few minutes - they will soften up a bunch, and most wrinkles will fall out, leaving much less to iron.
Norfolk VA USA

In reply to Martin, a tumble dryer uses between two and three times as much electricity as an iron for a given period, so it depends on how long it takes you to iron your clothes compared to a cycle of the tumble dryer.
Andrew Collyer,
Rainham, UK

When it comes to energy awareness, I have an interesting dilemma: my university (York) has been promoting energy awareness recently, and suggested that if each student in the university went without one cup of coffee a day, the university would save enough money to buy 100 library books. This leaves me rather confused, since my one cup of coffee a day would have been bought at one of the canteens, thereby - so I thought - providing money for the university. Can I support my university by not supporting my university? Will they really buy 100 new library books if the students give up having lattes with their fair trade brownies?
York, UK

Martin of Stevenage, as an ecologically aware student, I say don't iron the clothes at all.

Dear Robert of Glasgow, who "rumbled" my "wonderful" pun from last week's Punorama, in fairness I did send that Super Cally pun with a note stating "with apologies to The Sun".
Richard Ryan, Kuala Lumpur,

Surely the definitive supercali... was Frank Muir's shopping list on the BBC's "My Word": soup, a cauli, fridge, elastic, eggs, pea, halitosis. After that, there's no point in anyone producing other versions.
Leeds, England

Regarding Sarah's suggestion of a WWII Bomb watch. It looks like they've found some more.
Lancashire, UK

Today's Daily Mini-Quiz - What else does 'gay' mean now, according to BBC governors ruling on a Chris Moyles complaint? - on the Magazine index is easy for anyone who has a teenager in the house. To them everything which isn't part of their immediate world seems to be "gay", uttered without a hint of gaiety.
Ed Loach,
Clacton, UK


A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

With the sun beating down and the mercury rising, even the news seems to be looking up. Most of the papers grace their front pages with a picture of Wayne Rooney apparently in flying form despite the woes wrought by that toe he stubbed a few weeks ago. The Telegraph bolsters the feel-good factor with a story about a new cancer wonder drug with a tacit admission that this really is a wonder drug and not just one of those run of the mill cancer wonder drugs that makes the headlines and then vanishes never to be heard of again. "Unlike some cancer drugs, which had shown early promise that then faded [patients for this one] had an 'impressively durable response to the drug'.".

Even the alarming page three story - that 60% of teenage girls want to lose weight but only 15% need to - brings cause for optimism. All those stories about a youth obesity epidemic wither and die with the simple calculation that perhaps the vast majority of teenage girls are the correct weight.

But where humans strive, animals flounder. There's the story about water voles dying out, a dog which escaped in an airport and started chasing the passenger jet on which its owners were seated, down a runway, and, to boot, the distressing news that cats are on shaky ground if they want to own internet domain names.

Joshua Rozenberg, late of the BBC and one of the sharpest legal minds now in print, relates the surreal case of Morgan Stanley v Meow in which the American investment bank took a cat from Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, to tribunal over the domain name mymorganstanley.com - which was registered in the name of Meow, Baroness Penelope Cat of Nash DCB.

To prove its point the bank asserted that cats can't read or speak and so if this cat really did register a domain name it could only be a cat from outer space... either that, or, just maybe, the bank suggested, a human had, in bad faith, registered the name on a cat's behalf.

Animal rights sympathisers will be disappointed to hear that Meow lost the case and was not available for comment. But does Meow actually exist?

Finally, and still in the Telegraph, a letter writer appears to be proposing a game of human Cabbaging (not that the Telegraph designate it such). Read on...

"SIR - My aunt will be 88 in September, her father was 63 when she was born in 1918, so was born in 1855. Do we have anyone in Britain who had a parent born before 1855?"


It's a bad day for hexakosioihexekontahexaphobiacs - that's people who fear the number 666 - the date is 06-06-06. Yesterday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked what does the word mean, and a spooky 66.6% of you guessed correctly. Ok, that's a big fib - it was actually 88.8%. Today's Daily Mini-Quiz is on the Magazine index.


Letters logo
According to David Richerby, Middlesex ceased to exist in 1965. Could he please tell me where I live?

Just viewed the news for the North West of England. Apparently Cleethorpes is now in the North West (twelve people trapped on a ride at a theme park in Cleethorpes). Think the East of England might miss it. Then again, maybe not.

Margaret Grant is miffed about people talking "to" slides and others "flicking" her e-mails, I have to table a report and then talk to it. After that any comments have to be addressed to the chair. Any other bits of furniture in the room just go lonely. I suppose if a certain royal personage was there he'd talk to the potted palms.
Norwich, UK

MM's idea of voting for the caption of the week is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster: you are elated at seeing your name and caption, but that joy is cruelly taken away by the vagaries of public opinion when you realised yours was the least popular.
Emma Medina,

Hang on! Richard Ryan's 'wonderful' punorama entry last Wednesday 'Super Cally goes ballistic, the builders are atrocious' changes only one word from the S*n's own 'Super Cally goes ballistic, Celtic are atrocious' after Caledonian Thistle beat Celtic 1-3 in a Scottish Cup tie in 2000. It's not only unoriginal, its unoriginal unoriginality. Boo. And stop reminding me, alright?

Re the Anthems vie for World Cup glory in your entertainment section, what about Stan Boardman's offering which is going great guns in the North West? It's to the tune of "She'll be Coming Round The Mountain" and includes the immortal line "Singing iy yi yippee, the Germans bombed our chippy" - or is this too politically incorrect for the BBC?
Wigan, England

I have a question for the ecologically aware. When I tumble dry my clothing, I only need to iron one third of what comes out. When I dry it on the line I need to iron three quarters of it. How much extra power do I use in tumble drying as opposed to how much extra I use in Ironing?
Stevenage, UK

Re today's Paper Monitor. Maybe the Daily Mail should have taken into account the fact that sweets were rationed until 1953, so of course today's children are eating more than those in 1950! Muppets...

Dearest Monitor, I need some space, I think we should take a break. Just for a week til the exams are over, because in the meantime I can't give you the attention you deserve.


Newspapers logo
A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Feeling peckish? Are you having that Monday snack attack?

The Daily Mail - in its Bad Food Britain campaign - has a cautionary tale and some of the most startling statistics of the day. Britons eat more than half the crisps consumed in Europe and today's children eat 25 times as many sweets as their counterparts in 1950.

Meanwhile, if you're still feeling hungry, how about sprinkling on a little more guilt? The Guardian highlights the east European migrant workers who are currently bringing in the strawberry harvest - and getting 23 per day before deductions for accommodation. How much did you say those strawberries cost?

But the story that you can't avoid today is the World Cup. While the metro-centric Guardian dabbles with the approaching cup as a media story, for the tabloids its an all-out battle to tap into the footie fervour.

The Daily Mirror, working more angles than a Ronaldo curler, gives four of its first five pages to England football stories, including ideas for terrace songs about Peter Crouch. For example: "In the land where football's born, Lived a man who grew too tall" sung to the tune of Yellow Submarine.

But showing the strange hybrid character of the modern tabloid, amid all this football froth is the sober sight of recently uncovered photographs of the Holocaust diarist, Anne Frank, showing her as a seven-year-old girl with her doll.

Oh, it's Monday, so the front cover of the Daily Express suggests that there was something suspicious about the death of Princess Diana.


Friday's Daily Mini-Quiz asked for the name of the UK's fourth best-selling album which didn't make the top 100 in the latest poll of 'greatest albums'. Even though 41% of readers thought it was Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits, the correct answer Michael Jackson's Bad.

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